Red Roo Models


RRR48003 1/48 Sikorsky S-51 Helicopter in RAAF Service


Review by David Harvey

 

Review Type

First Look

Scale:

1/48

Price:

$70.00 AUD from Red Roo

Contents and Media:

A multi medai kit

Advantages:

A good combination of original kit and upgrade.

Disadvantages:

Some areas need clean up prior to construction as well as surface sanding to fix blemishes.

Recommendation:

Highly Recommended

 

Introduction

The Sikorsky S-51 was a derivative of the Sikorsky R-5, the first helicopter to be built in large numbers. The S-51 had an enlarged cabin and a tricycle undercarriage and first flew on 16 Feb 1946. The S-51 had a three bladed articulated rotor which allowed the blades to be folded back to facilitate stowage.

During its production and use the S-51 changed from wooden rotor blades to metal blades which were a different shape.

For more information on the Australian used aircraft go to the ADF Aircraft Serials website.

The instructions

The instructions are the standard Red Roo format with 16 pages of colour printed instructions and reference images. They are quite clear in the manner in which to build the kit and have directions on what to size hole to drill and the various options you have. As the RAAF aircraft were slightly different from the US provided aircraft in Korea you should read the instructions and note the differences, this includes when to use the Red Roo resin parts instead of the base kit items.

 

The kit

This kit is based on the Mikro Mir 1/48 S-51 kit which comes in many variants and schemes. The Red Roo version of the kit is a true multi media kit as you end up with plastic, resin, PE, wire as well as the clear parts and the decals.

The base kit components are generally well casted but there are some surface blemishes on the tail rotor blades and flash on a number of the other parts. While they are not used in this version, the main rotor blades appear to have sink marks on them, I don’t believe this in intentional attempts at representing used blades as they are inconsistent on the three different blades.

 

The fuselage parts also appear to need some work to smooth the surface as it has a slightly rough texture to it.

The canopy is cast as part of the front fuselage section which, thankfully, has been produced in clear plastic which will remove the frustration of the installation of the windows. The windows and front canopy are clear though I might give them a slight polish to smooth them out a little, this is not essential. You are given separate doors so you can install these as open if you wish to show off the interior.

Red Roo components – Red Roo provide you with a set of the wooden blades and a set of two bladed tail rotors as well as a number of pieces of wire and rod to complete the S-51 to a better standard with more detail. Both the resin main rotor blades and the tail rotor blades are cast in black resin and look quite good.

 

Photoetch – I am not usually a fan of large numbers of PE being used in kits as too many of them are trying to represent round or other shaped objects by just putting multiple sheets of flat metal together which does not look good. Thankfully this is not the case for most of the PE in this set. You are provided a small sheet of PE that is used to represent mostly flat objects on the aircraft. There are a few items though that fall under the category of rounded objects and flat PE, these being the rescue hook and some of the grab handles. Thankfully I can’t see anywhere on the instructions where the PE grab handles are used and Red Roo provide wire to represent the grab handles on the RAAF aircraft.

The decals

The Decals provided in the kit comprise multiple sheets of continuous clear decal carrier for both the markings and white backings for them. They all appear to be well printed and have some good colour for the National Markings.

The schemes covered by the decals are:

 

Recommendation

This is a limited production kit and as such I had no expectation of the base kit being ‘perfect’ and would need some work during construction. The Red Roo components are well done over as I have come to expect over the years and when the base kit, Red Roo components and the instructions are combined you will get a great looking kit.

I find myself rating the kit between Recommend and Highly Recommended due to the clean up required so I reckon it is a low/just Highly recommended model.